Friday, August 25, 2006

Snap, snap, snap

It’s been a crazy week. I haven’t had time to blog, post pictures or even read and comment on other blogs. I don't have time to do it now either but that's not stopping me. And tomorrow I’m off and away for another week. It’s a whirlwind.

Here are a few “snapshots” from our Florida trip:

- While my Dad took Barbara’s kids to the NASCAR museum Daytona USA, a very pregnant Elisha, Noah and I hung out at the mall across the street. Noah wanted to run full speed around the mall and grab everything. I spotted two mothers and their toddler daughters who were pushing baby dolls in strollers. It struck me as a genius idea – if I child is pushing a stroller they can't be manhandling all the mall merchandise. I recalled from a few Mommy blogs that boys LOVE doll strollers – it has less to do with the dolls and more to do with the wheels. So off we went to KB Toys where I grabbed a pretty pink stroller and let Noah pick out a baby doll. He selected a black baby doll in a ruffled purple sleeper. I asked him “What's the baby’s name?” Noah thought for a second and said “Hunter.” This of course was the name of his Aunt Elisha’s impending baby so I said “No. Hunter is Aunt Lisey’s baby. What is the name of Noah’s baby?” Noah said something that sounded like “George.” So baby George it was – though I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the name came from. We don’t even know any Georges. But Baby George was an instant hit. Noah wants to “walk baby” everywhere. He even holds him when he goes to sleep. Earlier this week the naming mystery was solved when I saw Noah pawing at our George Bush refrigerator magnet again and then he asked me where his baby was. So yes – Noah’s black girl baby is named after George Bush. I’m sure the president would be proud.

- I anticipated lots of quiet time on our vacation. Time just sitting in an empty house while Noah napped, with no email and no chores nipping at my heels. So I bought three books of short stories set in exotic locales – since I no longer have the time or attention span for a whole novel. I guess it should be no surprise that I never got the opportunity to open even one of them. We were constantly on the go and naps were either forsaken or Noah slept while I held him while out on the town. I'm taking my books to the beach.

- One night after I put Noah to sleep at an uncommonly early 9:30 pm and was still able to stay awake for a whole hour before wilting, I sat and chatted with Barbara in their Florida room. She put “The Breakfast Club” on the TV but we were too talkative to actually watch it. Soon her husband Ryan came out to join us and while we were in the midst of deep discussion I noticed the movie had ended and the show “Secret Lives of Women” had come on. I didn’t need the sound to realize that the episode was about a woman and her cross dressing husband. So when Ryan noticed what was on the TV and said “WHAT on earth are you watching?” I said “My husband is a cross dresser.” Ryan looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and slowly said “REALLY?” Barbara and I nearly cried laughing as I explained “NO! That’s the name of the show!”

- I’m 32 years old and obviously an adult but I still don’t feel like one. It’s a nice trait in a way because I don’t really feel old. I must have inherited it because at 52 my Mom told me she feels the same way. Every once in awhile I’ll be struck by how grown-up something feels and like I shouldn’t be doing it. The whole time we were in Florida I kept thinking “I’m driving a rental car. How COOL is that?”

- Dad, my stepsister Cathy, her 4 year old daughter Mary, Noah and I went on a sightseeing boat cruise in Saint Augustine. Little Mary is darling and she’s a pistol. She rattles off question after question after question and she’s her own episode of “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” Cathy was grinning ear to ear because I was the one fielding the questions and she got to just sit back and laugh. I kept trying to explain to Mary that we were not in fact going anywhere, just driving the boat around slowly looking at stuff. She wanted to know why we were going so slow, where was the captain, who was talking over the speaker and what were we going to see when we got to our destination. And what is that thing (a buoy), what is it for and how do I know that? At first I thought it was the cutest thing EVER. Half an hour later I wanted to say “Give me a break kid - the information desk is closed.” One afternoon we came over to Cathy’s house and Mary said “Why are you and Noah here AGAIN?” Four – I can’t wait!

- Noah would barely let me play any music other than his Laurie Berkner CD and DVD. By the end of the week every member of our Floridian family knew the words. Elisha was singing them during labor and I couldn’t help but chuckle when I caught my Dad singing “Under a Shady Tree” to himself in the airport security line.

- Barbara’s daughter Summer is ten years old. She’s sweet, smart and a real stunner. It didn’t take long to know Noah was in love. In the beginning he followed her around like a puppy dog but by the end of the week Noah wouldn’t even let the poor girl sit down. He kept demanding she get up to chase or dance with him.

- In Florida Noah slept in a big boy bed. With his Mama. We slept in Barbara’s adorable 8 year old son Sean’s bunk bed – while the top bunk is a standard twin the bottom bunk points forward and is a full. It was ideal because it’s low to the ground and has a rail around it so that I was able to prop up pillows to prevent Noah from rolling out. I was a bit worried the first night that we weren’t going to get any sleep but we slept great in it. If Noah woke up I could just lay in the bed and stroke his back or nurse him and roll him over to his side of the bed when he fell asleep. I guess that is the joy of a family bed. This week sleeping has been erratic. Noah wakes up in the middle of the night and I get him to sleep again but as soon as I lift him up to put him over the crib rail he wakes back up and cries for me. I decided to take the twin bed in his room and put the mattress on the floor so that we could lie down on it together when I just can't get him back to sleep in his crib. We’ve spent quite a bit of time on that mattress this week. We’re going to have some serious sleep training work ahead of us after this beach week.

- I’m happy to say there were few stressful moments on our vacation. I can think of only two. The first occurred when the engine light came on in our rental car and I damn near had a panic attack. It turned out that it was just an orange light and merely a warning about the gas quality. The second occurred on our return trip to the Orlando airport. We left Barb’s house at 4 am – and luckily Noah stayed asleep until we stopped for gas. Except for a brief comical moment when Dad and I were quarreling about directions and Noah mumbled “No – THIS WAY” in his sleep. Anyway – back to the stress. I needed to fill the rental car up with gas as close to the airport as humanly possible so there would be no additional charge – but I had no idea where the closest gas station to the airport was and I didn’t want to end up driving past it to get gas. I ended up getting off an exit right before the airport without seeing a gas station but was overjoyed as I saw one immediately after my turn. I pulled up to the pump and ran my card. It said “Pay at Cashier.” I tried it again – same thing. I went up to the store and realized it was locked. The girl inside told me through the glass that she couldn’t let me in because her cash drawer wasn’t working yet and that I had to pay at the pump. I told her the pump wouldn’t allow me. Just as I was starting to panic my tied to vacation constipation gave way and I had to go – REAL BAD. So now I couldn’t get gas, I had gas, I couldn’t use the bathroom and I didn’t know where there was another gas station. The girl disappeared into the back and I waited outside so that I could ask her where else I might go if she ever came back. Finally she reappeared and opened the door – she told me she couldn’t take credit inside and that I had to make a debit transaction. After taking sixty dollars off the card she tried to apply it to the pump and then realized the pumps were off. She had to call the manager – at this time I excused myself to abuse their bathroom. When I returned she said “Well I have to give you sixty dollars cash because I’m not supposed to be open until 6 am.” It was 5:50. So I had to go stand outside for ten minutes and then be let back in so that I could pay for gas. All in all this transaction took about a half an hour – and maybe two years off my Dad’s life since given the option he would be at the airport six hours before a flight. I'm happy to say however that we had plenty of time to do the airport shuffle and then wait around to get on our plane.

- The plane rides were great. We flew on Southwest which has self seating and calls passengers with small children on first. And since noone in their right mind sits next to a toddler on a plane if they can avoid it, the seat between Dad and us was empty both ways. Not only did Noah sleep about an hour and fifteen minutes on the flight there, but on the way home he fell asleep during take off and woke up after we landed. AMAZING.

-I’m sure there are a million more funny moments, but my memory is bad and I’m sure you're tired of reading. More next week after our beach trip.

Tomorrow is my lovely husband Mark’s birthday. I consider myself to be a very fortunate woman and I don’t want for much more than I have – and Mark is the reason. He’s undoubtedly the guy for me and I’m thankful every day that I have him to share my life with. I hope this year Noah and I contribute to making him more satisfied, more happy and more proud than ever.

Have a nice week. I promise to catch up with you all in September.

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